Slowing Job Growth Pinching Borderland
EL PASO, TX — There is good and bad news on the economic front. On the good side, the average price of gas in the state of Texas down again this week. The bad news is that other numbers are dropping, including numbers of new jobs. One of the down numbers is the Dow, which down 200 points Friday after a disappointing report on the nation's jobs. Numbers of new jobs created in May were much lower than earlier this year. Only 69,000 jobs were created last month, the lowest growth in a year.
UTEP Professor of Economics Tom Fullerton says that despite these numbers, the recovery is in fact still happening. He says that a large number of jobs lost are due to lingering effects of the recession.
"13,000 government jobs lost," he explained. "That was the single weakest area in the report."
That means fewer teachers, police and other public workers. He says the budgets of many state and local agencies depend on money collected from taxes. And after some lean years, lower tax revenues have backed many municipalities into a corner, forcing them to cut employees to stay in the black.
Many in the private sector are also hesitant to spend money. Turmoil in the economies of nations like Greece hasn't been resolved. Potential solutions will impact U.S.corporations differently, and hiring new employees is seen as a risk. Uncertainty in upcoming elections also are keeping wallets closed. Changes in political offices will likely effect regulations, giving companies more reasons to adopt a "wait and see" approach.
Locally, construction work on large projects like on Fort Bliss, University Medical Center and UTEP went counter to the national downturn in construction. Now with projects ending, workers are being forced out of the area to find work. Al Berrera works in the construction field, and he says finding construction work in El Paso is not as easy as it was a few years ago. Berrera says many former coworkers are having a hard time, "a lot more of them are unemployed right now. In this area there are fellows leaving their families now to go where the work is....in Carlsbad where they have the mines."
But, Dr.Fullerton says he expects an increase in private sector jobs soon, because they are making money. "if corporate profitability holds intact. Eventually these companies are going to have to expand the payrolls. just to keep up with new orders."